Our Purpose and Privilege in Marriage

Our purpose and privilege in marriage.jpg

Marriage is such a sweet reminder of and the closest example we have to how Christ loves his bride – the church. This creates a beautiful purpose in marriage, and it is a unique privilege we have as married couples to honor and love our spouses, and to learn and experience Christ’s love for us.  Ultimately, it isn’t about us or our spouse – it’s about Christ.

I am by no means a pro at this married-life thing!  But God has certainly softened my heart and changed my perspective on marriage in the past 3 1/2 years. As I have grown into my role as “wife” God has very clearly shown me that this isn’t about me or about my husband. It’s about his love for us and his love for his bride, the church.

God has purpose for us as husbands and wives. And it is a privilege to be called to walk alongside our spouse in the messiness and brokenness of life and together see the beauty that comes from pursuing Christ wholeheartedly.

The privilege of marriage is to love our spouse unconditionally like Christ loves us.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
1 John 4:9-11

Loving our spouses unconditionally is truly a privilege. I know God has used my marriage to shape me more into his image by giving me many opportunities to love unconditionally. Sometimes this means grace, forgiveness, encouragement, looking past hurts or simply loving your spouse where they are at, not where you want them to be.

To be completely transparent, I have to tell you this is very hard. Especially when the enemy is attacking. Some days I just don’t want to love my husband. Not because he is a bad person or because he doesn’t love me well. Just because I’m tired or weary by the burdens and responsibilities that come with marriage. But that’s okay. It’s okay not to feel is sometimes. One of the best pieces of advice I received about marriage is one I have reminded myself of when my husband and I just can’t get on the same page, or when communication is hard, or when we have been hurt by each other. Love isn’t always a feeling. It’s a decision. 

Deciding to love my spouse unconditionally leads me right to the foot of the cross. Surrendering my hurts, my needs and my desires. And letting God fill me up with his grace and love so I can poor it out onto others. And that’s why I believe it is a privilege. As a christian, my purpose is to become more like Christ and to go and spread his word and his love. In marriage, I have the unique opportunity to do that each and every day. Now, whether or not I do it well (or at all..) is another story. Progress, not perfection!

The privilege of marriage is to see answered prayers and fulfilled promises days, months, and years down the road.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

In this season, this privilege is my favorite. Hear me when I say this – God does not always fulfill our prayers in the way we hope. He doesn’t always answer in the years we have on earth. “Good” looks a certain way to our selfish, sin-prone flesh. But God is sovereign. He forknew what we would need in our earthly life. And he is working all things together for good – for his good, for his purpose, and for his glory.

I have prayed specific, bold prayers for my husband and for my marriage. One in particular God is just now beginning to answer, and not in the way I asked or expected. But it is better. Infinitely better {Ephesians 3:20}. I am seeing his promises for redemption come through, in the middle of trying to undo years of hurt and darkness. And it’s absolutely the hardest thing I have walked through. But the process is beautiful.

The purpose of marriage isn’t to glorify ourselves – it’s to glorify God.

…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,whom I formed and made.
Isaiah 43:7

When I look at my spouse and my marriage as a vessel for God to do his kingdom work, my perspective changes. My priorities shift and I see my spouse in a different light. When I see that hard places as an opportunity to rely on Christ alone,  love unconditionally, pray without ceasing, seek God’s kingdom, and glorify him in all I do – I begin to see how God is using my spouse and our marriage to make me more like him. To create in me a new heart. And I see how God has created a unique purpose for me in my marriage to show himself to my spouse and to those around us.

The purpose of marriage isn’t to meet your needs – it’s to show you your desperate need for a savior.

My husband meets many of my needs. He is wonderful – and I am truly blessed to do life with him. But I also realize that him meeting my needs is not his purpose in my life or in our marriage. When we put Christ first and recognize that our desperate need is only for Him, the pressure is off us and our spouses to meet needs that can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. And, as promised, he will satisfy all our needs.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Wherever you are in your marriage – in the trenches, coming out of a season of rest, still in the honeymoon stage, too busy to connect, or trying desperately to hang on – remember that God has purposed you for such a time as this. He is steadfast, unchanging, and willing to carry all your burdens.  His love for you is greater and deeper than you can comprehend!

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